creamy chicken and gnocchi with asparagus

As I continue to incorporate more poultry into my diet, my quest for yummy recipes with chicken breasts continues. This one hit the spot. And while the original recipe came from Diabetic Living… I made some substitutions they probably wouldn’t be so happy with… But delish it was! Enjoy!


  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used regular)
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch piecesasparagus
  • 2 cups whole wheat potato gnocchi
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (I didn’t use this)
  • 12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (I used super trim & fit thin sliced breasts)
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese (I used a full package of full-fat cream cheese)
  • 1 tbs. snipped fresh oregano

tara’s tips: Ok, yes, I strayed from the majority of what made this diabetes friendly, so if anyone actually follows the recipe, let me know how it tastes. Also, I learned the hard way that I must season my meat and vegetables, so I did. Salt, pepper, and Season All on the chicken and the asparagus. I let the cream cheese sit out to soften as I was prepping. I cooked the chicken just using cooking spray, no oil in the pan. However, I did drizzle a little garlic infused olive oil over the asparagus and tossed by hand before I roasted it.


  1. Preheat over to 450. In a bowl whisk together broth, flour, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place asparagus in a single layer on a large baking sheet; coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Roast 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning once or twice. (I didn’t turn)
  3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  4. chicken and sauceCoat an extra-large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink and starting to brown. (I cooked it until it was done; come on, it’s chicken!)
  5. Stir broth mixture and cream cheese into chicken in skillet. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened, adding enough reserved cooking water to thicken sauce. (I didn’t add any water) Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in gnocchi and oregano; heat through.
  6. Divide roasted asparagus and chicken mixture among four dinner plates. If desired, sprinkle with additional oregano. (I did and added some grated parmesan cheese as well)

creamy chix and asparagus

fast shepherd’s pie–guest post!

Master Chef Michelle is in the kitchen and The Edible Bookmark couldn’t be happier! In honor of Easter and the recent chilly temperatures, she’s sharing a family favorite made with lamb and love. Without further adieu…

Michelle P.
Ok, who isn’t sick of the cold yet?! If I could get my hands on that ground hog…well, as an animal lover I guess I have to let some things go. Just gives us more time to enjoy hearty, warm, and comforting foods. Here’s my take on Fast Shepherd’s Pie from Cooking Light.

I’ve taken this fast recipe and made it a tad bit faster. The only downside I have found is that it may be a bit more “saucy,” but can we say clean plates by all?? That = A KEEPER recipe in my book.

Hands-on Time: 30 min.
Total Time: Under 1 hour.
Serves 6 (easily)

Step 1aIngredients:

  • 6 lamb loin chops, meat removed from bones and cut into bite size pieces*
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¾ tp. kosher salt (I swap this out and use Secolari’s Black Truffle Sea Salt)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots mix**
  • 1 package Bob Evans mashed potatoes***
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, fat-free, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

michelle’s musings:
*I just ask the butcher in my grocery store to cut the meat from the bones so it makes it easier to cut them in smaller pieces at home. I also suggest using 8 chops for a more meaty taste.Step 3

**/*** : These are the items I use to speed things up even more. The original recipe calls for microwaving baby carrots, slicing them up and for making frozen Ore Ida Steam n’ Mash potatoes.


  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle lamb evenly with salt and pepper. Add lamb to pan; saute for about 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoon. Add onion to pan; saute for about 4 minutes and stir occasionally.
  3. Stir tomato paste into onions in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in carrots, peas, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in browned lamb.
  5. Add butter to Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and microwave for just the first cooking cycle.Step 7
  6. Spoon lamb mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish. Top with Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly browned.



Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (approx.. ¾ cup lamb mixture and ¾ cup potatoes): 377 calories; 13.7 fat (5.2g saturated, 4.3 g mono, 0.8g poly); 20.2g protein; 39.9g carbohydrates; 5.7g fiber; 59mg cholesterol; 2.9mg iron; 536mg sodium; 59mg calcium

garlic, butter shrimp scampi

IMG_1973Initially, I paused in blogging about this recipe. Then I realized how I could help it! And to be fair, I did go back for seconds of the original recipe. This is another quick, week-night meal that I think would pair nicely with a simple side salad. Let me know what you think!

Original recipe is from How to Nest For Less.


  • 8 ounces of whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) of butter
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 package McCormic® Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi Seasoning Mix
  • 1 tbsp juice of a lemon
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Old Bay
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


  • Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in large skillet on medium heat until butter is melted. Add shrimp and Seasoning Mix; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Toss with cooked pasta to coat well. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.


tara’s tips: Personally, I need my protein (i.e. meat) to be flavorful. I suggest seasoning the shrimp with Old Bay, salt, and pepper, and if you can handle the kick, red pepper flakes. Without the last 4 ingredients, the dish is fine for all–again, I did go back for seconds. But we know me, to take a page out of Emeril’s book, I like to kick things up a notch.

baltimore eatery: grano emporio

grano emporioA few weeks ago, my girlfriends and I stumbled upon a small restaurant in the heart of Hampden, an area of downtown Baltimore. We originally had reservations some place else, but a super fast change in direction landed us literally across the street at the most charming local Italian eatery–a split second decision that couldn’t have had better results if we tried.

We walked into Grano Emporio and while small and packed on a Friday night, they did everything they could to accommodate our party of 3. We ran into one of my co-workers who was with his own party of 3, while waiting in the bar area. And then had the pleasure of sitting at a table next to someone we think was an owner and quite charming in his own right.

There was a lot of Italian being spoken, the wait-staff was awesome, our wine glasses were never empty (at the direction of aforementioned owner), the bread was hot out of the oven, and the seasonal desserts were delish!

I was intrigued by the specials, so I ordered them…all of them. The appetizer of salmon, prosciutto, mozzarella pinwheels, the main dish of lobster with crab stuffed ravioli, and an apple custard pie. And while my dessert was super yummy, one of my girlfriend’s had the tiramisu and it was to die for–highly recommend. Actually, that’s the point of this post–in case you hadn’t noticed, I would highly recommend Grano Emporio–I also would highly recommend you make a reservation.

Normally, when I go out for Italian, it’s some place in Little Italy–Amicci’s anyone? And when I got to Hampden, it’s usually for Holy Frijoles. Dining at Grano Emporio was a delightful experience all around and one I plan to repeat–did I mention the yummy French press coffee? Don’t miss out on this hidden Baltimore treasure. Buon appetito!

parmesan crusted pork chops

Growing up, my mother used to make Shake-n-Bake pork chops, which I loved, and on occasion, I still make today. I’m not sure if it was that memory or the fact that cheese was involved, but I gravitated towards this incredibly easy and yummy recipe for boneless parmesan pork chops that originated on Just a Pinch. Enjoy!


  • 4 boneless pork chops, 1/2″ thick
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 c Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.IMG_1939
  2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Combine parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Rub pork chops in olive oil on both sides.
  5. Coat pork chops in cheese mixture and place on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
IMG_1943tara’s tips: The original recipe used parmesan cheese from Kraft that you usually sprinkle on top of spaghetti; personally, I grated my own cheese and while fine, I think Kraft would adhere to the chops better because of the cheese consistency. I always have to use a little salt whenever I season meat, so I sprinkled a little on each chop after they were coated. I served with a sweet potato and broccoli. Delish!